LEAP could have done more, Linden Chamber official says

– upcoming seminar aims to kick start businesses

The now defunct Linden Economic Advancement Programme (LEAP) could have done much more than it actually did to advance the interests of ordinary people in Linden who were willing to accept the support that was on offer to those who were prepared to undertake small business initiatives, an executive member of the Linden Chamber of Commerce (LCC) told Stabroek Business in an exclusive interview earlier this week.

“Of course LEAP could have done much more. It could have targeted projects in the agricultural sector that would have provided a livelihood for more Lindeners who no longer had jobs in the bauxite industry,” LCC Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Gerald Whittington told Stabroek Business.

“There was a lot that was needed in terms of training and financing and providing equipment for people who were interested in farming. One might even say that some of the funding probably went in the wrong direction. Yes, of course LEAP could have done more for Linden,” Whittington said.

Georgetown Chamber President Clinton Urling (left) at media briefing with Linden Chamber & Acting President Noland Walton and Assistant Secretary Treasurer Gerald Whittington

Launched in 2002, LEAP was initiated by the Government of Guyana with funding from the European Union (EU) with the objective of fostering entrepreneurship and enterprise for Linden in the wake of the decline of the state-run bauxite industry.

Whittington along with LCC Vice President Noland Walton met the media in Georgetown to provide details of plans for a November 9 business seminar in Linden which will be addressed by commercial bank officials and a representative of the diplomatic community. Walton endorsed the view that LEAP had fallen short of the expectations of the community, but said he would not go as far as suggesting that the entity was “a complete failure”.

Meanwhile, Walton told the media briefing that the LCC was on the verge of completing a strategic plan under the guidance of Georgetown Chamber of Commerce (GCC) agriculture point man Beni Sankar, aimed at maximising community interest in an agricultural initiative which he says “aims at helping Linden reach a target of producing up to 50 per cent of its own food. Walton said the plan was likely to be completed by the end of November but its implementation, “as it relates to training and funding” would be dependent on support agencies. He named the Small Business Bureau, recently established under the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce as one of the agencies to which the project will be looking for support.

Walton told the media that the need to seek out optional sources of funding for kick-starting small business initiatives in Linden arose out of the failure of LEAP’s successor agency, the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) to provide loans for business development.

Meanwhile, Walton told Stabroek Business that the Chamber was hoping to use the November 9 banking seminar to broaden community awareness of issues pertaining to the setting up and running of modest business enterprises including the accessing of finance and the management of resources. Walton said the modest size of the Linden business community meant that the Chamber would be seeking to utilize the November 9 forum “to reach out of Lindeners beyond the confines of what one might consider to be the business community.”

Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Clinton Urling told Stabroek Business that the initiative had arisen out of discussions between the two Chambers and the GCCI had agreed to provide various forms of support for the initiative. He said the GCCI had recognised the importance of providing support for the business community in Linden “particularly at this time” and that the banking seminar “would provide a forum through which “businesses at every level as well as Lindeners interested in setting up businesses” would secure an opportunity to raise issues affecting them.

According to Urling, while the Georgetown Chamber was “only too willing to extend to extend its support” to the LCC it was the leadership of the Linden Chamber which, at the end of the day would see businesses in the community get off the ground. Urling said while he was pleased to hear that the LCC was working on a five-year plan to generate an enhanced business environment in Linden, it was his view that the situation in the township once known as the “mining community” necessitated “a much shorter term plan. Frankly, I’m not particularly a fan of five-year plans,” Urling told Stabroek Business.

Latest in Business

At the Princess Hotel Casino

Draft gaming legislation before year end

Legislation designed to update existing local laws to ensure that they keep pace with the evolution of gaming is currently being drafted and could be completed before the end of this year, Chairman of the new Gaming Authority of Guyana Roysdale Forde has told the Stabroek Business.

20160701business cover

Georgetown Chamber expects gov’t to avail 20% of contracts for SMEs as provisioned in act

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) has signalled its intention to throw its weight behind the provision in the 2004 Small Business Act that binds government to ensuring that the small business sector secures a minimum of 20 per cent of procurement contracts issued by the state.

default placeholder

Are you really an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneur, Managing Director, GeoTechVision Entrepreneurship seems to be the new buzz word these days and while many are trying to build and contribute to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem, few entrepreneurs have excelled by turning their ideas into high growth businesses.

default placeholder

Contractors seeking meetings with ministers, mayor to discuss workplace safety issues

Stabroek Business has been sent a copy of a memorandum from the 70-member General Contrac-tors Association of Guyana (GCAG) seeking what its Secretary Neil Cort-Rogers says are “important meetings” with two cabinet ministers and the Mayor of Georgetown to find solutions to “critical issues” facing the sector.

Prime Minister Keith Rowley attended by assorted dignitaries doing sod-turning duties at the site of the planned car park.

Port of Spain getting parking meters too

One thing that Georgetown appears to have in common with Port of Spain is a premium on parking space and yesterday the Trinidad Express reported that on the previous day the twin-island Republic’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had turned the sod to commence the construction of a TT$100 million multi-storey car park in the capital.

Mercy Wings is training part of the country’s future work force

Mercy Wings needs public, private sector help to provide Sophia youths with life-changing skills

Sophia is one of those working-class communities where unemployment is high, poverty is ever present and the rate of school dropouts is disturbing.

Kitco is a Canadian company that buys and sells precious metals such as gold, copper and silver. It runs a website Kitco.com for gold news, commentary and market information.

Kitco Market

Gold Prices for the three day period ending Thursday  June 30, 2016

Kwakwani faces an acute crisis of bad roads

Berbice River communities facing economic challenges, community differences

Kwakwani is a struggling, underdeveloped community, a poignant example of the fact that the pace of development has not been anywhere near even across the various regions of Guyana.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: